Breakup Navigation Tips For If You And Your Ex Are In The Same Friend Group

Breaking up with someone who shares your same friend group isn't unlike sharing a pet or kids together. In many ways, there's a custody battle involved as to who gets to keep the friend group and who has to lose them. There are arguments over who knew who first, who's entitled to which friend, and there's the somewhat annoying fact that when you want to do some proper scheming to see what your ex is up to, you really don't have to go very far because it's playing out in front of you.


However, neither you nor your ex should have to give up the group, especially since making friends as an adult isn't easy. Granted, having the same friend group may feel like you're stuck with your ex forever, but it won't always feel this way. In fact, you might realize it's for the best, and that you and your ex make better friends than romantic partners.

"Being friends with your ex can be a good idea when other aspects of the relationship were valuable to your growth, development, or life goals," licensed marriage therapist Weena Cullins, LCMFT, tells Mind Body Green. "If you and your ex identify that you make better business partners, workout buddies, or friends, and you are able to maintain healthy boundaries with each other, then creating an authentic friendship could work."


But because being friends with an ex is something you need to work up to, at least for many people, you first need to figure out how to navigate the complexities of sharing that friend group.

Realize it's going to be awkward at first

Depending on how the relationship ended, having the same friend group as your ex is either going to be awkward as all get out or, if you're lucky, just a blip on your radar of awkwardness. But you also need to understand that it's not just you and your ex who are going to feel awkward, some of your friends will too.


When a couple who's part of the same friend group calls it quits, the friends can feel like they might be forced to take sides. Not only do you want to make it clear that neither you nor your ex will be doing any such thing (because the mature person in you won't let you), but you also want to reassure them of this fact every time you enter into a social engagement with your friends. No matter how awkward you might be feeling because your ex is there too, you want to do what you can to keep the waters calm for those around you. If you want to keep your friend group, then you want to make sure they don't have to deal with any unnecessary drama that might end up with them moving on without you or your ex.


Plan ahead and schedule

When you share a friend group with your ex, you can't just show up to any event — especially if you're not in the mood to see your ex or if you know they're going to be there with someone new. Since this might sometimes be the case, when it comes to group hangouts, it's a good idea to plan in advance by texting your ex. You can either check in to find out if they're going or, if you're still not ready to see each other, let them know that you'll be attending at a specific time, so they can show up either before you or after you leave.


Although it's going to be aggravating to have to plan ahead to see your friends, in the early days after a breakup, it's the best way to protect yourself. If you still have feelings for your ex or there was any sort of infidelity, then not wanting to see them makes perfect sense — something that your friends should understand and respect. There's nothing wrong with you and your ex scheduling ahead to make everything less stressful for everyone involved.

Avoid small events

As much as you may want to go to your friend's intimate birthday dinner, if you and your ex have recently broken up and you know it's going to be a problem, then it's best to skip it. While it may not seem fair that you should have to avoid small social gatherings, the reality is that it's better to protect your emotional and mental health, than put yourself in harm's way. If you know, for a fact, that your ex won't be attending or you've both decided that one of you can go to this gathering and they'll go to the next, then definitely go. But if it's unclear as to who will be attending and there's a risk that your ex might be there and you're not ready for possibly sitting across from them at a table for six, then you probably want to opt out. 


If there's any sort of debate surrounding small events, it's important to take the high road — especially if your ex is taking the low road and making things difficult at every turn. You can celebrate your friend's birthday with them one-on-one, which might be more fun anyway.

Be careful what you say around your friends

One of the biggest problems about sharing a friend group with your ex-partner is not being 100% sure as to who you can talk to about the breakup. While one can hope that you have at least one or two people you can vent to who will keep things to themselves, when friends are shared between exes, there can be a feeling of allegiance. In other words, what you think might be kept a secret just might make its way back to your ex — and there are certain things an ex doesn't need to know. Ever. 


Because of this sticky situation, it's probably best to confide in another friend who isn't part of the group. If you don't have any close friends other than the ones in that specific friend group, then this is where a therapist comes in handy. A breakup is a loss and all losses need to be mourned and processed. If you don't have anybody to talk to about it, then a professional is always a good idea.

Know that this too shall pass

It's important to remind yourself again and again that things won't always be this messy when it comes to sharing a friend group with an ex. In time, your wounds will start to heal, you'll begin to understand that you broke up for a reason, and you'll be able to look back at your relationship as a lesson that needed to be learned — or at least that's the hope when it comes to past partners. You existed and thrived before you knew your ex, and you will exist and thrive after them. It's just a matter of time and putting in the effort it takes to get over your partner and the relationship you had. If you've been in relationships before, then you already know that everything you're feeling in the immediate aftermath of the breakup isn't going to last. So take solace in that and realize you'll get through it and you will love again — but maybe next time look outside the friend group. 


Losing a friend can be just as, if not even more, devastating than losing a partner. Because of this, the last thing you want to do is jeopardize your friendships within the group. If you're willing to communicate with them and your partner about what's going to make all of this easier on everyone, then you will have done your due diligence. You may not be able to dictate to your partner how they should behave in regard to the friend group after your breakup, but that's not your concern. As long as you do right by your friends and right by yourself, that's what really matters — and your friends will thank you for it.